Apple Macbook with M-Audio Duo running Propellerhead Reason and Record, M-Audio Keystation 88es, Shure SM57, Ibanez Roadster bass, Oscar Schmidt Delta King guitar, Vox Valvetronix amp.
Reviewed By: Marty Peters
Recording: Our over all impression of "Dance/Sweat" is that the multiple individual sound sources fail to form a cohesive sound. The song is fairly busy and Reed! is obviously a talented guy, but as a recording, things could use a bit of re-focusing.
From the intro, we would liked to have heard a beefier kick drum (too much "click", not enough kick) while the artificial hand claps could have benefited from some reverb to help give them some ambience. There also seemed to be a distracting logjam of sounds -- horns, clean and distorted electric guitars -- just to the left of center of the mix. Reed! has used panning (perhaps too much) more effectively for his backing vocals, and he was wise to clear out the center during the guitar solo. Still, that being said, the track maintains a disjointed feel to us.
Suggestions: Balancing a mix is one of the most difficult aspects of a recordist's job, and songs with high track counts/sound sources can often times magnify the difficulty. Our advice to Reed! is that he remix his track focusing on the groove first, and the gravy second. Starting with the rhythm section, that phat synth bass needs an equally muscular kick to play with. We suggest that Reed! attack this first.
Next we ask that he consider layering in his secondary sounds with careful attention to panning, perhaps the clean electric panned to 11:00 O'clock followed by the horn stabs panned slightly to the right of center, etc.. Take your time here; trying different combinations of layering can often yield a surprising different result to the overall track. As for the vocals, we love the performance, but feel that a slightly narrower panning scheme on the backing vocals would help to better "center" the mix.
Finally, regarding the handclaps, adding a few passes of real hand claps along with some reverb to the programmed sounds can often help to give them a more realistic feel. Try it, this method also works nicely for horn and strings as well.
Summary: Plenty to work with, experiment and have fun.
Contact: Rodger Reed / Reed!, firstname.lastname@example.org